How to Become a Mining Engineer

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Mining is very important to the U.S. economy because the country is one of the largest producers and consumers of mineral products in the world. Mining engineering is an essential discipline that uses science, theory, and technology and applies them to extracting and processing minerals. Mining engineers are specially trained to locate, take out, and prepare minerals, metals, and coal.


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What does a mining engineer do?

Mining engineers work with minerals, metals, and coal for utilities and manufacturing industries. They plan and design surface and underground mines and plan the mining operations. They also design the equipment used in mining and supervise mineshaft and tunnel construction. They are responsible for supervising mining technicians and workers and create methods for transporting the materials to plants for processing. They also train working crews and supervisors.

Mining engineers must make sure mines are safe and cost-effective. They also ensure that the operation is environmentally sound. Mining engineers typically specialize in a specific mineral or metal such as gold or coal. Many work to resolve the problems related to water and air pollution and land reclamation.

What kind of training does a mining engineer need?

Mining engineers typically need at least a bachelor degree in mining engineering. Some have degrees in civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering. A master or doctorate degree is required for researching or teaching positions. Mining engineering students complete general engineering courses along with coursework in mining safety, geology, material handling, mining methods and equipment, environmental issues in mining, and mine management. Some schools offer work-study, co-op, and internship programs to enable hands-on practical experience. These programs allow students to contribute to real-world mining projects and may result in job opportunities. Mining engineers must stay current on the constantly changing technology and do so by regularly participating in continuing education courses.

What are the prospects for a career as a mining engineer?

Employment of mining engineers is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 10% from 2006 to 2016 (1). A strong demand for minerals and the request for mining engineers in the gas and oil industry will fuel growth.

Job prospects are expected to good, especially for mining engineers with advanced education and extensive experience. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace workers who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do mining engineer make?

As of August 2009, the middle 50% of mining engineers earned annual salaries between $48,588 and $63,363. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $69,884 (2).

A career as mining engineer is a great choice for people who are interested in the mining field and raw minerals. Mining engineers must have good time management skills, good judgment and decision-making, and great critical thinking skills. They must also have excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.

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